Cover 2020-01-19

Ron Writes

The God of All the Nations

A big controversy arose in the first century as to whether a Gentile could become a Christian. And if they can be Christians can they do so without becoming a Jewish convert first? There was great dissension and debate about this. This is of utmost importance for us since most of us are Gentiles. A conference was held in Jerusalem with Paul and Barnabas and all the apostles and elders of the church (Acts 15). Peter gave his testimony and then Paul gave his riveting testimony. However, the debate was put to rest when James quoted from the OT prophet Amos (9:11-12 cf. Acts 15:16-18). They concluded that God was calling the Gentiles and they didn’t need to be circumcised or keep the Law of Moses.

While the main focus of the OT is the story of the Jewish nation, Gentiles aren’t forgotten by God. The first eleven chapters of Genesis included all mankind. When Abraham is chosen it was to benefit “all nations,” “all the families of the earth.” There are many Gentiles mentioned in the OT who acknowledged God and were blessed by Him. Two Gentile women, Rahab and Ruth, are included in the lineage of Jesus. Psalm 117 calls on all nations to praise God. Typically, we read the “God of Israel”, but not in Amos. In Amos God judges all nations, because He is the God of all nations. God never discarded the Gentiles nor did He ever cease caring for them.

Matthew, the most Jewish book, with a Jewish audience and a Jewish emphasis is the only gospel that tells us about Gentile wise men who came to worship Jesus after his birth. Jesus upset the Jewish leaders when He reminded them of God’s blessings on Gentiles during the days of Elijah and Elisha (Lk. 4:25-27). Jesus gave the great commission to go into all the world, and “make disciples of all the nations” (Mt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15). God wants a relationship with all nations.

John the Revelator saw “a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne” (Rev. 7:9). God desires a relationship with all of mankind and has provided a way through His Son, Jesus Christ!